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Pakistan is no longer in the media spotlight since the successful outcome of the Asia Bibi case. However, the fate of its 1 to 2% of Christians is no less worrying in a country where precarious living conditions encourage the development of radicalism.
Considered as second-class citizens, they suffer the full force of the law on blasphemy, a real sword of Damocles.
On a simple accusation, they can be imprisoned or executed, like the Christian couple wrongly accused of blasphemy and burned alive, in front of their child, by mobs incited by fanatical clerics.
Discrimination, harassment, forced marriages, social and political violence, Pakistani minorities are living a hell on earth, despite repeated attempts by the government to contain the situation.
Always targeted in remote villages, rejected for their faith and confined to arduous jobs, Christians work from father to son for a landowner.
In exchange for unsanitary housing and a miserable salary, they cultivate their master’s land. Daily mistreatment, starvation, and even murder if they wish to free themselves, the Christians accumulate debts and find themselves caught in a dependency leading to a quasi-slavery, reproduced from generation to generation.
When they have the misfortune to become unproductive due to age or illness, enslaved Christians have to pay back their days of absence. This infernal spiral only ends if they are thrown out on the street…
In Pakistan’s brick factories, children, women and men work day and night for a meagre salary that they often never receive. They are “modern slaves”, bound hand and foot to an employer who has almost become their master.
In this difficult context, the action of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient is mainly focused on the emancipation and security of the slaves, through economic development and the creation of autonomous villages. The aim is to free Christian families from slavery and give them a home, land and a future.
In conjunction with the Pakistan Bishops’ Conference, SOS Chrétiens d’Orient is also working to support the victims of the Blasphemy Law, which legitimised the imprisonment of Asia Bibi and threatens thousands of people every year with a simple denunciation.
The Christians of Pakistan will disappear if we do not act for their freedom.